AutoCAD 2008 Essential Training
Illustration by Don Barnett

Creating dimensions


From:

AutoCAD 2008 Essential Training

with Jeff Bartels

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Video: Creating dimensions

It's important to remember that the drawings we create in AutoCAD are construction drawings. This means that someone somewhere will be referring to our drawing in order to construct our design. Knowing this, we need to be sure that our design is well-dimensioned such that it can be accurately reproduced in the real world. Let's look at how we can add dimensions to our drawings. Now we are going to open a file. I'm going to come up and click my Open icon and we are going to look inside the Chapter 12 folder located inside the Exercise Files directory and I would like to open up drawing number 1, the Birdhouse drawing.
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  1. 3m 27s
    1. Welcome
      1m 6s
    2. Introduction to AutoCAD
      1m 29s
    3. Using the exercise files
      52s
  2. 23m 16s
    1. Modelspace
      2m 21s
    2. Toolbars
      3m 24s
    3. Pulldowns
      3m 36s
    4. AutoCAD's command line
      1m 46s
    5. Dockable palettes
      3m 23s
    6. The Status bar
      2m 59s
    7. Saving your workspace
      2m 12s
    8. Essential settings
      3m 35s
  3. 19m 8s
    1. Opening an AutoCAD drawing
      3m 1s
    2. Mouse functions
      2m 2s
    3. Zooming, panning, and regen
      5m 11s
    4. The multiple-document environment
      3m 24s
    5. Saving your work
      2m 34s
    6. Using templates
      2m 56s
  4. 16m 37s
    1. The Line command
      3m 17s
    2. ORTHO and POLAR modes
      5m 45s
    3. The Circle command
      3m 27s
    4. The Heads-Up display
      4m 8s
  5. 15m 51s
    1. Defining units of measure
      6m 13s
    2. Drafting with architectural units
      5m 1s
    3. Drafting with metric units
      4m 37s
  6. 20m 52s
    1. Cartesian coordinates
      5m 50s
    2. Object snaps
      10m 27s
    3. Automating object snaps
      4m 35s
  7. 23m 33s
    1. Rectangle
      4m 22s
    2. Ellipse
      6m 0s
    3. Hatch
      8m 34s
    4. Polygon
      4m 37s
  8. 23m 28s
    1. Move and Copy
      6m 45s
    2. Rotate
      5m 6s
    3. Offset
      6m 1s
    4. Erase
      2m 6s
    5. Undo and Redo
      3m 30s
  9. 12m 38s
    1. Windows and crossing windows
      4m 49s
    2. Removing from selections
      3m 44s
    3. Using key-ins
      4m 5s
  10. 1h 4m
    1. Trim and Extend
      6m 55s
    2. Fillet
      5m 3s
    3. Chamfer
      6m 36s
    4. Array
      8m 2s
    5. Mirror
      6m 54s
    6. Stretch
      5m 51s
    7. Scale
      5m 19s
    8. Grips
      7m 37s
    9. Explode
      4m 17s
    10. Polyline edit
      7m 48s
  11. 26m 8s
    1. Layers
      3m 32s
    2. The Layer Properties Manager
      9m 8s
    3. Layer control
      4m 30s
    4. The ByLayer property
      5m 27s
    5. The Layer Previous command
      3m 31s
  12. 43m 16s
    1. Single-line text
      3m 47s
    2. Text justification
      7m 3s
    3. Text styles
      7m 31s
    4. Multi-line text
      6m 30s
    5. Editing
      3m 24s
    6. Bulleted and numbered lists
      4m 7s
    7. Symbols
      6m 19s
    8. Spell-checking
      4m 35s
  13. 29m 0s
    1. Creating dimensions
      8m 36s
    2. Dimension styles
      6m 39s
    3. Callouts
      6m 42s
    4. Tweaking dimensions
      7m 3s
  14. 14m 53s
    1. The Distance command
      4m 17s
    2. The Property Changer
      6m 31s
    3. The Quick Calculator
      4m 5s
  15. 25m 10s
    1. Creating and inserting blocks
      10m 16s
    2. Using blocks
      5m 47s
    3. Modifying blocks
      4m 8s
    4. Building your library
      4m 59s
  16. 48m 45s
    1. Quick plots
      6m 42s
    2. Selecting a pen table
      5m 37s
    3. Layouts pt. 1: Choosing paper
      3m 23s
    4. Layouts pt. 2: Inserting a title block
      3m 13s
    5. Layouts pt. 3: Cutting a viewport
      6m 18s
    6. Layouts pt. 4: Reusing layouts
      4m 16s
    7. Scale factors
      4m 0s
    8. Sizing modelspace text
      7m 17s
    9. Sizing modelspace dimensions
      4m 48s
    10. Sizing linetypes
      3m 11s
  17. 10m 1s
    1. Drawing compatibility
      3m 5s
    2. E-transmitting
      3m 12s
    3. Saving to the Design Web format
      3m 44s
  18. 20s
    1. Goodbye
      20s

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Watch the Online Video Course AutoCAD 2008 Essential Training
6h 58m Beginner May 13, 2008

Viewers: in countries Watching now:

AutoCAD is a computer-aided drafting and design program that is the industry standard for a wide variety of 2D and 3D work. AutoCAD 2008 features several improvements over previous versions, but the core functionality and workflows have remained consistent for years. Users who have any of the more recent editions of the software will find AutoCAD 2008 Essential Training to be a valuable resource. Instructor Jeff Bartels has taught and used AutoCAD for a decade, and in this course he focuses on the difficult to master concepts that matter most to professional AutoCAD users. Exercise files accompany the course.

Topics include:
  • Opening, viewing, saving, and sharing drawings
  • Customizing the workspace
  • Mastering drawing fundamentals and specialized commands
  • Defining units of measure and controlling accuracy
  • Making primary modifications and major changes to a drawing
  • Organizing layers and reusable content
  • Annotating and dimensioning
  • Plotting with layouts
  • Sizing linetypes, modelspace text, and dimensions for a plot
Subject:
CAD
Software:
AutoCAD
Author:
Jeff Bartels

Creating dimensions

It's important to remember that the drawings we create in AutoCAD are construction drawings. This means that someone somewhere will be referring to our drawing in order to construct our design. Knowing this, we need to be sure that our design is well-dimensioned such that it can be accurately reproduced in the real world. Let's look at how we can add dimensions to our drawings. Now we are going to open a file. I'm going to come up and click my Open icon and we are going to look inside the Chapter 12 folder located inside the Exercise Files directory and I would like to open up drawing number 1, the Birdhouse drawing.

So I'm going to highlight that guy and click Open. Now this is a simple drawing of a birdhouse and we are going to use this guy to play around with several of the dimensioning features. Now if I want to create dimensions, I'm going to turn on the Dimension toolbar. I can do that by moving my cursor over an existing tool and right-clicking and in the list of toolbars I'm going to come up and select Dimension. And when I do the Dimension toolbar pops up right in the middle of my screen. Now this guy is going to be important to us so I'm going to dock him to my interface.

Let me move my cursor up to the blue area and I will click and hold and I will push this guy up at the top of the interface and I will release to dock him. Now I would like to dimension my Birdhouse from front to back. I'm going to do this by using a linear dimension. Let me come up and click my Linear icon. And AutoCAD is asking me to specify my first extension line origin. Generally speaking when I want to create a dimension in AutoCAD, I will click one point and then another and AutoCAD will create the dimension line between them.

It is important when we create dimensions that we use Object Snaps. Object Snaps are the only way to guarantee that our dimensions are accurate. Now I happen to have a running Object Snap set for endpoint so let me move close to my Birdhouse and I will click. I want to dimension from this point and I will come over and click this point. And as I move away with my cursor I can click one more time to set the location of the dimension. Now let me zoom in on this guy. Notice this dimension is to 4 decimal spaces and it's ugly.

Dimensions are kind of like text. The default settings aren't the most attractive and in a future session we will learn how to make our dimensions look better. For right now once again we are concerned about function more than form. Let me backup. I would like to place another linear dimension. Let me move up and click my Linear icon and I am going to dimension the roof of my birdhouse. Let me click the very top from my start point and then I will come down and click this endpoint and notice as I pull up AutoCAD is giving me the horizontal distance between those points.

If I move my cursor to the left AutoCAD will give me the vertical distance between those points. So a linear dimension by definition will give us the true horizontal or vertical distance between the points that we click on. I'm just going to go ahead and pull this guy up and I will click to place my dimension. Now this is in contrast to the next dimension style we are going to look at that is the aligned dimension. Let me click on this icon. This represents an Aligned dimension. I'm going to click my points.

Let me click the endpoint here and I'm going to come down and click the endpoint of the roof. Notice the dimension I'm creating now. An aligned dimension will give us the true distance between the points that we click on. Essentially I'm dragging a dimension line that is parallel to the two points that I clicked. Once again I'm going to click one more time to place my dimension. Let's create a continuous dimension string. This is something that we typically see on our mechanical and architectural drawings.

Now to create a dimension string I need to have a dimension to start from. I would like to create a continuous dimension string that represents the elevations of my birdhouse. Now since I'm dimensioning the vertical distances, I'm going to be using a linear dimension. Let me come up and click Linear then I will move over and I will click my first endpoint. I will come down and click my next endpoint and then I will move my cursor to this side and I will click one more time to place the dimension. I now have my initial dimension that I can create my continuous string from.

Let me move up and click this icon. This guy represents my continuous string and as soon as I click the icon, notice AutoCAD is giving me the rubber-band effect from my previous dimension. At this point all I have to do is click the endpoints where I would like to create my dimensions. I will click here. I click the top of the base and I will click the bottom. When I'm finished I will right-click to finish my string and select Enter. Notice AutoCAD is still in the command. It's saying Select continued dimension.

I could create another string if I wish. Watch if I come over and click this dimension. I can pull a continuous string from this guy. Let's dimension to this end of the birdhouse. When I'm done I can right-click and select Enter and then I will hit Escape to get out of the command. Let's create some baseline dimensions. Now baseline is similar to continuous in that I have to have a dimension to start from. So I'm going to create some baseline dimensions on the front of my birdhouse representing elevation so I'm going to use a linear dimension.

We click Linear. I want the vertical distance between the endpoint here and the endpoint here and I will pull this guy away. Now that I have a dimension to start from let's create our baseline dimensions. I'm going to come up and click my Baseline icon. When I do AutoCAD is giving me the rubber-band effect from the previous dimension. I'm just going to come down and click each point that I would like to dimension to. I want to dimension to the endpoint here. I want to dimension to the top of the base and I want to dimension to the bottom.

When I'm finished I can right-click and select Enter. Notice the baseline acts just like continuous so I could create baselines from another dimension. I'm just going to hit my Escape key to jump out of the command. Notice my baselines are all measuring from the original location. Unfortunately they kind of overlap a little bit and they are on the ugly side but once again we will learn how to correct that in a future session. Let's create an angular dimension. I'm going to zoom in on the front of my birdhouse and if I want to create an angular dimension I'm going to come up and click my Angular icon.

Now to create an angular dimension all we have to do is click one line and then another and AutoCAD will dimension between them. So I will click this line and then this one and then I will move my cursor away and click to set the location of the dimension. Let's make one more. I'm going to come up and click the Angular icon again and we will dimension the angle down here. Let me click this line and this one. As I pull away AutoCAD is creating the dimension. Watch this. If I move my cursor outside the lines AutoCAD will dimension the supplementary angle.

If I move below AutoCAD is dimensioning the opposite angle and if I move over to the right I'm getting the opposite supplementary angle. So the location of our cursor will dictate which angle is being dimensioned. I'm going to click right here to place my dimension. Let's create a radial dimension. If I want to create a radial dimension I'm going to come up and click my Radius button. AutoCAD is asking me to select an arc or a circle. I'm just going to click this circle right here. AutoCAD gives me the radius.

By default it is set to a leader. I'm just going to pull away and I will click to set the location of my dimension. Let's try a diameter. If I would like to dimension a diameter I'm going to come up and click my Diameter icon. If AutoCAD is asking me to select arc or circle, let me grab this circle and once again I'm creating a leader. Let me pull away and I'm going to click to place the leader in my drawing. Now be careful. I have a running Object Snap. If I was to try and drop this leader right here my number would snap right to the end of that line so be cautious with the running Object Snaps when you are placing your dimensions.

I'm going to click right here to place my dimension. Notice the diameter dimension contains the Diameter symbol. This is how we can tell the difference. Based on the dimensioning skills we have just learned we now know enough dimensioning types to fully dimension this part. Using AutoCAD's dimensioning tools along with our object snaps we can quickly and easily document our design and allow our contractor to accurately reproduce our design out in the field.

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